Framework for Cultural Development Planning


This Framework for Cultural Development Planning has been created for local government professionals across Australia by the Cultural Development Network. This resource provides a series of activities to create a Cultural Development Plan, shaped around a set of six principles, listed below, that are common to much contemporary policy and planning.

This Framework is based around the recognition of five domains of public policy and activity (cultural, economic, environmental, governance and social) that are all considered as important for quality of life of people in the community, and each have unique measurable outcomes. At the centre of the domains is the concept of flourishing and fulfilled individuals, which would be the result of good outcomes were achieved across all the domains.

A set of measurable outcomes for cultural activity across these five domains has been developed to assist cultural development planners conceptualise and measure the change they might seek.  Methods to measure progress towards those outcomes are also offered in this resource.  

The Framework recommends the creation of a Cultural Development Plan that responds to the Council Plan, and is supported by Annual Business Plans for the department, project plans for specific activities and individual staff work plans.

This resource on this site offer a step-by-step guide to support cultural development staff in planning for rich and vibrant cultures in their communities, using an evidence-based outcome-focussed approach.

How to use this resource 

Use the right hand menu to navigate through each section and step in this framework.

Create a new Cultural Development Plan

  • The Background pages provide the ideas that underpin the Framework. You can read these as you wish to inform your work.
  • Begin Creating your own plan by using the Principles 1 to 6. Work through these pages in order. Each page offers an overview of the topic with more detailed information available from the ‘More Info’ buttons.
  • Most topics are illustrated with an example from the imaginary Wonderland Shire council. While Wonderland is not a real place, all information used is from real council documents.
  • Complete the Action Steps on each page to create your plan.
  • The menu on the top bar also helps navigation through the site. Clicking on the menu items will take you directly to those pages.

Assess an existing plan

  • As a starting point, it is highly recommended that the online self-assessment tool be used for existing cultural plans.  Evaluation of a current plan can inform the development of future plans. To assess your current plan against the principles recommended in this Framework, select the menu item Evaluate your plan and be guided through an assessment process.

Consult resources

  • Most pages have a list of specific resources related to the topic. CDN’s publications page provides a range of additional resources relevant to cultural development planning in Australia.

Seek support

This resource is under continual development, as it continues to be trialled with local government in various area of Australia. We welcome your feedback to

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